LONG-TERM potentiation (LTP) is an enhancement of synaptic strength that can be produced by pairing of presynaptic activity with postsynaptic depolarization1. LTP in the hippocampus has been extensively studied as a cellular model of learning and memory, but the nature of the underlying synaptic modification remains elusive, partly because our knowledge of central synapses is still limited2, 3. One proposal4, 5 is that the modification is postsynaptic, and that synapses expressing only NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors before potentiation are induced by LTP to express functional AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazoleproprionate) receptors. Here we report that a high proportion of synapses in hippocampal area CA1 transmit with NMDA receptors but not AMPA receptors, making these synapses effectively non-functional at normal resting potentials. These silent synapses acquire AMPA-type responses following LTP induction. Our findings challenge the view6-10 that LTP in CA1 involves a presynaptic modification, and suggest instead a simple postsynaptic mechanism for both induction and expression of LTP.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - Jun 1 1995|
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